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Interview with Foetus, July 2, 1995

Interview with J.G. Thirlwell, aka Foetus, on WTUL, Tulane University. Pardon the idolatry; I had wanted to meet the man for years. He was really quite gracious to do the interview.

Technics SL-1200MK2 with custom paint job.

Technics SL-1200MK2 with custom paint job.

I recently purchased a Technics SL1200MK2 for a very good price and used it to replace my Lenco L75, which I used with a Grado MC+ mono cart (I use a VPI Scout/Dynavector 10×5 for stereo).

I decided to upgrade the Technics, just to see what all the fuss about this turntable is about. I replaced the entire tonearm assembly, the footers, and added a thick mat and record stabilizer.

New tonearm assembly (I bought these second-hand from a guy via AudioAsylum, and they’re all from KAB:

  1. Technics SL-1210 M5G tonearm (which is wired with OFC copper)
  2. Tonearm Fluid Damper
  3. PC-1200 phono interconnect mount
  4. LTD gold wire leads

New feet:

New mat and stablizer:

  1. SuperSonic record stabilizer from Herbie’s Audio Lab
  2. 1/4″ thick Supermat from KAB

General assembly tips: When taking apart the 1200, you’ll encounter quite a variety of screws. Be sure you remember which goes where when you put the table back together (an empty egg carton is a good way to keep your screws organized). I also downloaded a .pdf of a 1200 repair manual, and referred to that quite a bit.

To remove the tonearm/mount assembly, you have to remove the bottom cover of the table, which is made of rubber. You then remove the second cover, which sits between the rubber and the metal top of the turntable and is made of hard plastic. From there, you just remove the tonearm’s ground screw from the chassis, remove the three screws securing the tonearm mount to the chassis, and drop it out.

You have to keep the turntable upside down to do this. I did this by putting the dust cover on the table, and then resting the dustcover on some of that gray spongey packing material.

(closeups of fluid damper)
(closeups of PC-1200 mount)
(closeups of new feet)
(removing the original arm)
(picture of table with Supermat and SuperSonic stabilizer)
(my Juicy Music Tercel phono preamp, just ’cause it’s so pretty)

OK, OK, so how did it sound?

Whoa, this thing tightened up quite a bit. Pinpoint imaging, tighter bass, and cleaner highs. It easily trounces the Music Hall MMF-5 and Lenco L75 I had for a few years. There’s much more music coming out, but it’s also easier to listen to. And yes, this is all with a mono cartridge.

Granted, I can’t say exactly which part caused which improvement, because I did them all at once. But it was a fun project and well worth it.

You oughta hear how good the Monkees and Sinatra sound in original mono on this thing. Pretty soon I’ll put a stereo cart on it — gotta love those bayonet headshells.

Here’s a worthwhile and reasonably cheap tweak for the Oppo player. Tools required: Phillips screwdriver, a pair of scissors to cut the dampening sheet, and steady hands — you don’t want to knock those resistors and capacitors. It took me all of 30 minutes to do it.

I used one sheet of Herbie’s 1.6mm Grungebuster damping sheet with adhesive for this. It costs a little more than the 3M or Dynamat damping sheets, but I really respect Herbie’s products and had think they’re well worth the money. Your mileage may vary, of course. Don’t yell at me if you don’t hear any improvements or you ruin your player.

Step one is to dampen the CD sled. This mechanism is quite wobbly and noisy in its stock state. Applying strategic pieces of damping around the sled quietened it significantly, and this is sure to increase the laser’s low-level detail retrieval.

I plugged in the unit and opened and closed the sled as I applied the damping pieces, and could hear it getting smoother and quieter. Do not put any damping sheet in a place where it will impede movement of the sled. If you do this, remove it immediately as you don’t want any adhesive gumming up the works.


Then dampen the lower chassis with pieces of damping sheet. Be sure to put pieces on the side and rear walls and near the terminals. I also ended up putting pieces near the screws which secure the sled to the lower chassis.



Dampen the top chassis with bigger strips of damping sheet.


I had also intended to replace the stock fuse with a ceramic fuse, but it doesn’t look like the fuse is meant to be replaced. So I didn’t do it. Here’s a picture of the fuse — I had to remove the IEC cord wires to take the picture.


Klipsch Cornwall tweaks

Fresh crossovers, courtesy of Bob Crites. I also rebuilt the tweeters with parts I bought from him.



Rewired with DNM Reson cables, straight to the crossover. Plumber’s caulk applied to the woofer cage and squawker:






The result? Tighter bass, better imaging, less fatigue. The speakers work less to make more music..

My favorite comic

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